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CJI sets up 5-judge constitution bench for major cases; 'rebels' left out

This bench would hear the issue of the ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in Kerala's Sabarimala temple

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Justice Dipak Mishra (Photo: PTI)
Chief Justice Dipak Misra (Photo: PTI)

Amid a virtual rift between the Misra and four senior-most judges over assignment of important cases, the Supreme on Monday announced the composition of a 5-headed by the CJI, which does not include them.

None of the four judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and — feature in the list of members of the 5-

According to official information, the 5-bench, comprising Misra, Justice A K Sikri, Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice and Justice Ashok Bhushan, will commence the hearing on a range of crucial matters from January 17.

Meanwhile, sources said it was not confirmed whether the CJI on Monday the four judges who had hurled accusations against him at their controversial press conference on January 12.

According to the list of business for tomorrow, the 5-judge bench will hear major cases such as those challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and its 2013 judgement re-criminalising gay sex between consenting adults.

The same combination of judges had last year heard various matters from October 10, including the power tussle between the Centre and the over administrative jurisdiction and a matter relating to passive euthanasia.

This bench would also hear the contentious issue of the ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in Kerala's Sabarimala temple and resume hearing a legal query on whether a Parsi woman would lose her religious identity if she marries a man from a different religion.

Another contentious matter relates to the challenge to the validity of a on adultery, which only punishes a married man for having an extra-marital sexual relationship with a woman married to someone else.

The other issues to be dealt with by constitution bench include the pleas, which have raised a question as to when will a lawmaker, facing criminal trial, stand disqualified.

All these matters were earlier referred to larger benches for adjudication by different benches of the apex

The daily list of business for tomorrow shows that the two PILs seeking probe into Loya's death are listed before a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, against whom aspersions were cast by a in public.

In their unprecedented press conference on Friday, the four senior judges of the apex court had mounted a virtual revolt against the CJI, listing a litany of problems, including the assignment of cases. They had also raised questions over listing of PILs concerning Loya's death.

An office bearer of the Bar Association (SCBA) said a copy of their resolution was submitted by its to the CJI yesterday, but have not heard anything from the top court as yet.

Singh had expressed hope that all judges of the apex court would consider the SCBA resolution seeking a full court discussion to defuse the crisis plaguing the higher judiciary.

The SCBA, at an emergency meeting on Sunday, had passed the resolution expressing grave concern over the differences of four senior-most judges with the CJI.

It had said that all public interest litigation (PIL) matters, including the pending PILs, should be either taken up by the CJI or be assigned for adjudication to four senior judges who are part of the apex court collegium.

First Published: Tue, January 16 2018. 02:12 IST